Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time - Reviews

Alt title: Shin Evangelion Gekijou-ban :||

ThatAnimeSnob's avatar
Aug 15, 2021

I watched all 4 Rebuild movies and this is what I think of them. I am not going to over what I wrote about the series, so check out that one if you haven’t, since it’s more of a comparison than a standalone analysis.

So, the Rebuild movies are the remake of Neon Genesis, and are essentially how Hideaki Anno reevaluated his magnum opus 20 years later, when he was no longer that depressed and had left the shitfest that Gainax became by turning into another modern studio. As such it’s not going to be the arthouse piece it used to be nor a landmark in anime, since it’s a derivative piece of entertainment made in an era where the term classic is about to die out. Almost nobody’s watching old anime anymore, therefore there is no point in telling Zoomers of the classics that defined earlier decades. Even those who bothered to watch the series when it was added on Netflix some time ago didn’t find it to be special after thousands of other shows copied its style. Most of them even said they didn’t like it because it had robots, and Shinji was a crybaby and not an overpowered self insert harem lead in a videogame isekai. So yeah, right from the start you know these movies are not going to be something special for those who didn’t watch and love the series 20 years ago. Which is why the only thing I’m going to do is to compare them.

Starting with the first movie, which was pure fan service for the old fans. Almost identical to the first episodes of the series and with a hundred times prettier colors, so obviously I loved every second of it and gave it a 10/10.

The second movie is where things change and left me partially disappointed. Not so much because it wasn’t an identical recreation of the original, but rather because the changes didn’t make this version better. And by that I refer to the inclusion of Mari, a new character we were calling the glasses waifu, something that was added just for selling dakimakuras. Eventually there was a good reason for her existence, evident by her name. She’s called Mari because she’s a Mary Sue, and sums up the worst traits of the archetype. She’s always great, she always wins, she doesn’t suffer from psychological issues like the other characters, and she always guides a discussion in whatever way she likes by making loaded questions. She’s literally a self insert, thrown in a preexisting story for showing off how amazing she is. Heck, she even makes Shinji her boyfriend at the end. What a load of crap. That aside, the movie ends with the Third Impact, which didn’t make any sense at the time since there was nothing past the Third Impact in the original. What the hell are they doing here? I gave it a 7/10 for at least being rule of cool despite having Mari.

Then came the third movie which was off putting. There was a time skip which changed completely the look of the setting. The Third Impact wasn’t complete and thus the planet is half dead. Everything was mechanical and lifeless, and the characters permanently cryptic and emotionless. Shinji spends the whole film having no idea what is going on and nobody is explaining shit. It’s also where they included Kaworu in the plot, which seemed ill timed. The thing that was making him so deceptive in the series was interacting with Shinji in his daily activities. There were no daily activities here, everything was ugly and joyless. And speaking of which, the setting was also ugly because they no longer drew over the CGI. I could see the damn polygons in most scenes and it made the fights to look like something out of a Playstation 3 cut scene. Also the ending didn’t even feel like an ending, it was more like a cliffhanger to something that was ugly, lifeless, and had no relation to the series anymore. I gave this one a 4/10.

And after many years of waiting the final movie came out and it was not that bad in the first third. It took place in an area that was not affected by the Third Impact where the characters had a normal life in the countryside. You get to see a lot of the minor cast from the series all grown up and with families. This part felt like an actual continuation of the plot, since all these people didn’t disappear and life went on. Unfortunately the rest of the movie was an incomprehensible mess of pseudoscience, religious mambo jumbo, and people infodumping stuff that should have been established in earlier movies and not 15 minutes before the end. Talk about ill-planning. And sure, the End of Evangelion was also a mess in terms of narrative, but at least it ended with Shinji living in a devastated world where the negative consequences of the Third Impact weren’t wished away. In this version they did, the ending is a reality reset where everything is fine and all of them are happy. Hideaki what did you do, you were supposed to be the chosen one. Why did you make your magnum opus into another escapism fantasy? Is this the result of not being depressed anymore? What a load of shit. I’m still giving it a 6/10 for the epilogue-like portion of the movie, but the rest of it is completely against the core message of End of Evangelion.

And that’s what I had to say about the Rebuild movies. The best one was the first because it was identical to the series, thus again proving why retro always wins.

5/10 story
8/10 animation
8/10 sound
5/10 characters
6/10 overall
erri's avatar
Aug 26, 2021

i watched the rebuild continuum (1.0, 2.22, 3.0, and 3.0+1.0) with a friend all over a period of ~3 days. this my initial take. the focus of the review will be on 3.0+1.0, but i will evaluate elements from all movies, and provide an overall score for the continuum

(edited 2021-08-27 lightly for grammar, spelling and to expand a bit)

first, some disclosures and biases:

i found the original anime series to be excellent, and end of evangelion to be a masterwork. i have also found myself not enjoying remakes/reworks that take the form of film adaptations/continuances for reasons which i will expand upon in the ensuing review. there is likely also a component of autism here though in disliking change from what i believe to already be ideal, sufficient or complete.

im recovering from covid, and am currently experiencing post-viral impairments to my cognition. this has also made me emotionally volatile; discontented, quick to anger, uncharitable, impatient, and all kinds of other qualities i find distasteful. take this review with a grain of salt, and with that in mind. my mind is likely to change and i may edit this as i have further ponderances throughout the next week.

oh, and if u care about such things: SPOILERS AHEAD!!

the start was good. the artwork was breathtakingly gorgeous. the vibe was what i'd expected thematically moving on from 3.0! i sincerely enjoyed being such detail put into the landscapes, some familiar and others foreign. the motif of angelic blood spreading across the planet was A+ aesthetically in a disharmonic way that preserved some of the occult feels from NGE. (gallery)

the ending was good decent. the 5 hours leading up to it was mostly bad/unimpactful because "*14 years* have passed and oh, here's all these new characters u dont care about. no, we aren't going to spend any of those hours doing proper character development." this is in part due to the film length restriction, but not entirely. the frenetic pacing of the preceding film (2.22, 3.0) contributed, and were that, i think was aptly chosen. it fit with what run time was available and also into the iconic themes of the franchise; dystopia, accelerationism, survivalism. this is understandable, but it didn't capture me like the series did with its comparatively slower and more measured pacing. it didn't make me *pay close attention* and give it the depth of thought i'd have liked to be able to. it didn't *compel* me to make sense and tease apart the unknowns. . . because i wasn't meant to, i realised later.

the final spear (gallery of instrumentality being terminated) seemingly being created out of nowhere. thats fine. seele has crafted spears too. the *way* it was presented though? awful. just utterly miserable, low-effort writing i'd expect from a product with a focus on delivering feel good entertainment: humanity's will manifesting salvation. this breaks away from the occult mystery. it's opaque, but in a way that makes me groan. yes, it gave me shivers. the tactic works. it's powerful. it's also formulaic, rote, and cringe.

the ending was succinct. at first i thought well, they could have just made EoE2 and cut all the build up out, but that wouldnt make sense. out of all of the ludicrousy, there was growth on shinji's part as a result. it's [questionable](https://myanimelist.net/reviews.php?id=412515) whether that growth was well founded, and is something i'm still dwelling on, but it was growth nonetheless. the events which transpired weren't failures at progressing the story as a mouvement through [a linear timeline](https://www.neogaf.com/threads/that-theory-surrounding-the-evangelion-rebuild-series-spoilers.1186274/). it was all was essential to construction of the finale, or at least, it makes sense within the context of the desired finale. shinji's further torment in this was a reflection of gendou's revealed personhood; his fears, failings, and overall personality. shinji's growth beyond suffering to connect with and understand others was critical to reaching out to his father and overpowering him during Another Instrumentality. as the film's proposal aptly states: eva is a story about repetition. they played this motif exceptionally well, and indeed, repetition of pain, failure and loss is a very human need for growth. for transcendence.

the thematic expression, repeated and expanded, was evocative and appreciable at times. and yet, even they became rote too.. with what little character development was had, when one of the Wunder's crew (i don't even remember her name or function. seriously the characters were _this_ forgettable) having a catchphrase that made me roll my eyes.. this held true even when it was reversed in a time of crisis, showing the turn of events and hope laid therein. it could have been impactful, but i felt nothing but B-movie comedic effect because i had no attachment for here. were these elements of otherwise thoughtfulness and beauty i've come to know and love better executed consistently, i'd have liked the film even more. i _want_ to like the film, and that is why i'm trying to give it such a measured and charitable review. there _were_ good parts. but this was, as is right in the title, a mix of what we remember (1.0), and what the overarching media industry has become (3.0); that sewed discord in my heart.

i will never respect remakes/adaptations that pander to the lowest common denominator, even if it's in line with what a broader audience, or fans themselves at large want(ed). i saw this the most in 2.22 but it was present in the subsequent films too. to draw from another iconic and loved franchise, this is what happened with the GiTS remakes, but with a vaneer of faithfulness layered on only to be quickly eroded to reveal the truth of intent. i do understand and grant that again, the format isn't condusive to giving the works the time they need to develope as they did historically, but this was an intentional decision that wasn't forced on anyone.

3.0+1.0 film rating: 3/5, better than i expected leading up to this, but barely above average for what type of media i've classified it as.

overall rating of the rebuild continuum: 4/10, don't like it!!

initially, i gave the overall rating a 6, but...

  • the raw pain i expereinced and leading to me thinking so much of it was hilariously bad, uninteresting and downright a disgusting mockery shifted it down
  • i rage quit in 2.22 over this, but my score isn't lower because of it being able to, despite all of that, invoke enough curiosity in me not to drop it right then and there. this isn't a highly esteemed redemption
  • i was falling asleep during le epic battle scene in 3.0+1.0; i stopped reading or caring about trying to determine what was going on because it was all so dumb/boring
  • the musical score completely ruined several scene recreations and novel additions that would have otherwise been immensely impactful
  • it was insightful and satisfying enough (albeit those moments were few and far between) for me not to completely detest its entire existence
  • there was a mere one occult concept to do with eva mechanics that was intuitive to grasp (beast mode/inversion). i fucking loved it.. but much else mentioned was given little to no opportunity to understand
?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
3/10 overall
Gozza's avatar
Aug 16, 2021

What a wild ride. I don't even know where to really start.

I really enjoyed watching Rei, trying to live a normal life and learning how to enjoy life among the people who survived the near third impact. This was a real treat, and I really wished we got to spend more time with the cast in the other rebuild movies as we did in this movie. I really enjoyed Shinji's and Asuka's growth, the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Normally, I'm not a huge fan of the empty husk character, but you are and will always be an exception to the rule Rei... no matter which version it is of you.

The combat scenes were extremely fun. It does have a transformer movie feel to it at times when we're so close to the action that we're not really sure what's happening. Even though the CGI can feel out of place at times, some 'bad' CGI is on purpose which I personally really appreciated because you can tell Anno is paying tribute to the shows he grew up with as a child. Heck, the background cloth even falls down during the fight scenes to show how clumsy those old shows used to look.

Furthermore, I really enjoyed Mari. Mari is just a fun character who just does what she wants, and I also don't mind that she gets used for some good old fashion fan service. Her personality is refreshing as well, especially among all those depressing faces. As much as I do enjoy Mari, Misato Katsuragi will always be the best girl in the series. And, Gendo Ikari will always remain the worst dad in anime history, nothing will ever change that. 

I really enjoyed watching everything coming together, giving the Evangelion franchise a pretty good conclusion.

~ The end

Now we're left with 2 more questions. Is Dr. Katsuragi DNA really being used for Kaworu? And... Is this truly the ending that Anno envisioned for Evangelion? Because it seemed that he did run into the same problems he had back in 1996 and really forced himself to finish the script. So who knows, we might see another Evangelion movie in 10 years from now.

10/10 story
9/10 animation
8/10 sound
10/10 characters
9/10 overall
Anime14icon's avatar
Aug 15, 2021

I 'am a guy who was introduced to the Evangelion franchise through the Rebuild series so I don't think my review will give you an actual view into Evangelion itself but if Rebuild is considered to be a stand alone series then it does a really great job. I have watched each and every Evangelion series including the old one's so I think all of them in 1 picture gives off a stark contrast. 

The rebuild series leaves out a lot of important details which I had to search seperately for. The confusion was a lot for me but this movie clears out some of it I guess. 

In the end, Anno has done a brilliant job with the Rebuild series to keep up with the generation of new audience and I loved it. Sadly, a really big and iconic franchise has come to an end so why not end it with this a short saying. 

"To every great thing, there comes an ending." 

9/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
TokuReset's avatar
Aug 18, 2021

1/3 of this movie isn't that bad, actually it is quite good if we compare this with the disaster that 3.0 was but don't be fooled by it, later on one character is written out for no reason other than psychological manipulation (it has its own page on wikipedia because this trope has been done so many times that well it's become a damn trope example: Gwen stacy/the amazing spider-man comics) and the movie went downhill after that and 3.0+1.0 became a complete mess of pseudoscience, nonsensical vaguely Christian babble, and people infodumping stuff the previous movies should have established earlier and not in 20 minutes  (Anti-universe, Eva imaginary, bits of information about what happened between 2.0 -3.0 , Asuka's backstory..and more) 

it's so depressing that Anno thinks satisfying the audience means sacrificing every interesting thing he has going on as a filmmaker and just creating anime-colored paste of flashing lights and dramatic speeches (and CGI because it's cool or some shit) and after 1h 20m of a lot of references to ultraman, Uchuu senkan yamato (star blazers), BYE BYE JUPITER and more  ANOTHER IMPACT (no pun intended) is triggered and it's basically instrumentality 2.0 but with Gendo instead of shinji and everything here including characterization and execution is  a poorly attempt to recreate something that was lost long time ago.

BTW My biggest grip with 3+1's ending is that Shinji's real problem was never the Evas, EoE had an anti-escapism message (the negative consequences of the Third Impact weren’t wished away and shinji had just to roll with it) but here shinji rewrites reality as he sees fit, a reset ending in which everyone is happy resetting a timeline where humanity struggles against the consequences , so there are no consequences for any action (which it's bad because that's not how the world works) and shinji is a salaryman with Mari as his GF for reasons that are beyond my comprehension not only ignoring what eva 3.0 told us about the world "YOU CAN(NOT) REDO" (you actually CAN, you just need the right spears and giants robots) but also goes against EoE and NGE. Making Evangelion Another escapist fantasy.

P.S. WILLE's crew behave erratically, hysterically with no rhyme or reason or explanation (sakura and that pink haired girl)

- If you are a mecha fan (just like me) the fights are not that good. This is not tekkaman blade, Char's counterattack nor something meaningful like Argento soma - Ideon Be invoked. 

Be invoked: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IO4Tk63ukpM

blade vs Evil: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2l4RN1duEEE

Amuro vs Char: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zNpKg2B84o

Argento soma EP 24: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpgaMaElwsU


Because I value story over everything else and none of the fights since 2.0 have been satisfaying at all.

4/10 story
8/10 animation
8/10 sound
5/10 characters
4/10 overall